- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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A look at some of the tough decisions confronting the New York Giants in advance of Saturday's 6 p.m. ET deadline to reduce their roster to 53 players.
Defensive tackle: Could they keep six? Linval Joseph, Cullen Jenkins, Shaun Rogers and Johnathan Hankins look like locks. They may not be ready to give up on 2011 second-round pick Marvin Austin. And veteran Mike Patterson has played well in the preseason. (Markus Kuhn, we assume, will start the season on the physically unable to perform list.) To keep both Austin and Patterson, the Giants likely would have to give up a roster spot at linebacker or defensive back, and honestly my current 53-man projection doesn't include a spot for defensive end Adrian Tracy. So the odds say the Giants will have to cut at least one defensive lineman they like, and who could be snatched up quickly by another team (cough * Cowboys * cough) looking for help on the defensive line.
Running back: The Andre Brown injury clouds this, because he may or may not need a 53-man roster spot depending on the severity of his injury. But assuming Brown and his fractured left leg aren't on the 53, there's no reason they can't keep all five from the group of David Wilson, Henry Hynoski, Ryan Torain, Da'Rel Scott and Michael Cox. Torain is a guy they like as a pass protector, and Cox may well be the new kickoff returner. If they cut someone from the Scott/Torain/Cox group, it's likely because they decided they needed a sixth wide receiver or a fourth tight end.
Quarterback: Assuming they keep fourth-round pick Ryan Nassib, they have to take three quarterbacks, because Nassib isn't ready yet to fill in as the backup if something happens to Eli Manning. The competition for QB2 is between David Carr and Curtis Painter. Flip a coin, honestly. And part of me even wonders how sure we should be about Nassib's spot. He didn't show a lot in camp or preseason. Are they really so bound and determined to develop a young quarterback behind Manning that they'd spend that roster spot on a guy who probably won't play all year?
Defensive back: Charles James was getting a lot of punt-return work in the preseason and would give the Giants 10 defensive backs (six cornerbacks and four safeties) if they kept him. They'll need a spot for Will Hill after Week 4, so somebody from this group could be a short-timer. Tyler Sash's concussion bears watching, but if he has to miss time, they probably have to go and get a safety from somewhere else.
3dMorty Ain and Stevland Wilson